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California - 2nd District

Incumbent -- Wally Herger (R) ; Will retire at end of current term (announced Jan. 10, 2012)

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The mountainous 2nd forms a north-south strip down the center of northern California, from the Oregon border through the Sacramento Valley. It includes the Sutter Buttes mountain range west of Yuba City.

Agriculture dominates the sprawling 2nd, the largest district in California at almost 22,000 square miles. Almost one-third of the district is rural, with rice farms and orchards that produce walnuts, almonds and plums. Sunsweet Growers, headquartered in Yuba City, operates the world's largest dried-fruit packing plant.

The 2nd endures harsh weather, and conditions cause major fires every year, especially in the northern counties of Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou, and in the valley county of Butte. Much of the district is extremely dry and temperatures soar during the summer. Water also is a perennial issue: Two-thirds of the state's supply comes from the upper third of the state, which has caused tension between northern and southern California.

Much of the 2nd's economic activity is centered in Shasta County despite high unemployment rates there. Redding is about 160 miles north of Sacramento in Shasta County and attracts tourists who visit nearby Shasta Lake, the state's largest man-made reservoir. In Butte County, health care and higher education are major employers in Chico. More than 17,000 students attend California State University, Chico.

The 2nd is largely white, Republican and relatively poor. The district has seen a steady influx of Sikhs in the Yuba City area, as well as an infusion of Democratic-leaning Hispanic farm workers. Chico has a large Democratic presence, but 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman won in every county in the district and by 18 percentage points here overall.

Major Industry

Agriculture, timber, tourism, health care

Military Bases

Beale Air Force Base, 4,000 military, 1,200 civilian (2009)


Redding, 89,861; Chico, 86,187; Yuba City, 64,925


Redding's Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, a pedestrian bridge that spans the Sacramento River, functions as a working sundial but only gives the accurate time one day a year -- on the summer solstice in June.




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